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Questions Answered by Richard Sternberg
2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for Maryland on
Q: My father died in the state of Maryland without a will. What steps do I take to sell his house?

His fiancé still lives in the house, but I am his next of kin

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Oct 19, 2020

I think I answered another question from you a minute ago. If your father died leaving a house and a motorcycle, and you are his only heir at law in an intestate estate, you need to open an estate, get Letters, list the house, and sell it. It is likely that there are enough assets in the estate to... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Maryland on
Q: Can my deceased dads girlfriend take his motorcycle to the dealership with only a death certificate?

She’s not his next of kin, his daughter is his next of kin. He still owes 5,000 on the motorcycle, we were going to pay it off but she went behind our back to take it to the dealership.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Oct 19, 2020

Unless the girlfriend is in your father's will or is actually a spouse, or, unless she held title to the motorcycle in joint tenancy with right of survivorship with your father, it isn't her motorcycle. Tell the dealership to give it back. If the note was from the dealership and the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Civil Rights and Probate for Virginia on
Q: Now that I have a answer about the lawsuit against my brother inlaw who has passed.

Now they want my husband to settle up with them because he was sole heir. We dont know what to do!

My brother inlaw denied to his dieing breath it was untrue what my nephew accused him of but the lawyer said we owe him money for the pending lawsuit he had on going when my brother inlaw... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Oct 14, 2020

The type of lawyer you need is a probate lawyer who also does litigation. If you are representing the estate and the estate is in Virginia, you may use the estate's assets to pay the litigator as needed. You can find an attentive and talented lawyer by searching the Find a Lawyer function at... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Maryland on
Q: I had POA prior to my mom's death on 9/24/20. I signed a contract for the sale of her home on 9/10 prior to her death.

I have been named as the Personal Rep effective October 7, 2020. Can I sign the closing documents and sell the property?

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Oct 13, 2020

The PoA expired upon your mother's passing, but the contact was still valid. As appointed personal representative, you can close the sale on behalf of the estate. It will be a slightly unusual case, so you should check with the title agent picked by the buyer if they need anything else to close.

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Can a sibling evict me from my home when both names are on the deed? She claims she is only required to give 30 days.

My sister has drafted a home made eviction notice and is stating I need to leave the home within 30 days according to Virginia law. Both of our names and two other siblings names are on the deed. She is also claiming there was a verbal agreement that while she moved into the home, that no other... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Oct 12, 2020

A common co-tenant of the whole cannot "evict" another common co-tenant of the whole from the premises. The reason she has made mum her own form is that there is no lawyer who would draft one for her. What you need is a lawyer to file a petition for sale in lieu of partition so you can... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Our rental agreement is through 2024 and we’ve rented from same owner for 7 years, but the owner has decided to sell.

We were just notified by a realtor our landlord wants to sell their house. Of course, we’ll try to work out an amicable purchase price from our landlord, but he believes his property is more valuable than the current market dictates. What should we do to in the interim to protect ourselves... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Oct 8, 2020

You may want to review your lease with a lawyer. If it is valid, it should be unaffected by the sale. The new owner will take subject to the lease, and, in recent markets, a home valued as a rental is usually worth less than a home for owner-occupancy. If you want to buy, you may want to have a... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Virginia on
Q: There was a pending lawsuit against my brother inlaw who passed. My brother inlaw was accused of molesting his nephew

25 years ago. Brother inlaw denies all allegations and nephew has no witnesses or proof. He did not say anything about this issues until he found out my brother inlaw was dieing and thought he had a lot of money.

My husband took care of his brother with ALS for 2 yrs and left everything to... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Oct 7, 2020

I’m not sure what you are asking, but it sounds like you need a lawyer to review and file a demurrer. If the estate has no money and no claim can be made for fraudulent transfer, I think the case is likely over. Negotiating pro se is a waste of time.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: how do you transfer the deed on a home and land that still has a mortgage against it?
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Oct 7, 2020

You sell it, which, in most but not all cases, triggers the due on sake clause, so you pay off the mortgage with the buyer or grantee taking out their own mortgage note.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Can I build a home on land that I am not on the deed of?

My wife and her ex-husband are the current deed holders but my wife and I are considering building a home on the same property. Can we do so without having his written permission? He no longer lives there and has not for the past six years nor does he pay the mortgage.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Oct 7, 2020

He should wait for you to finish building. If the building detracts from the property, he can sue for damages or an order that you pay to demolish it. If it adds value, he should petition for sale in lieu of partition and split the proceeds with you. You might get the costs of your construction... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on
Q: My father's will left me 36 acres of land. It was owed jointly with mom. She sold 5 acres of it without my knowledge?

Dad wanted me & my brother to be co-trustees. My mother redid the trust and named my brother & herself as co-trustees. They tried to keep Dad's will out of my hands. I finally got a copy from her lawyer. Seems fishy to me.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Sep 27, 2020

If the land was held by entireties with his wife, and if he predeceased her, it wasn’t his to give in his will. The land passed outside of probate to the survivor. Nevertheless, there are confusing references to trusts, and trusts imply inter vivos grants prior to demise or special titling of... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for Virginia on
Q: Father passed away 10 years ago was married at the time of death but since she has remarried is she entitled to estate

My sister was the holder of the will. I was told she lost the will which we all knew how he wanted the estate to be left to his children. Since she lost the will the court suggested we do a estate transfer. If we do the estate transfer it not only will go to his children but the now ex wife since... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Sep 25, 2020

The remarriage is irrelevant. The theft of the Will by the sister is a felony, but it must be proven. After all, storing the Will with one of the heirs or beneficiaries was just plain stupid. The widow is entitled to her intestate succession or her spousal share (often called dower) rights, which... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Can I be blocked from a private road to a property I want to buy if there is not a deeded easement for the road to it?

I am interested in buying a property that does not have a deeded access. There is a private road connecting it to a county road. The listing agent says that road cannot legally be blocked, denying me access to the property. If this is true I want to buy the land. When I was shopping for a... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Sep 23, 2020

The answer is in insurance not at law. The legal answer could get tied up in a astoundingly expensive trial on the existence of an easement by estoppel. You should draft the contract so that it is contingent on the insurability of legal access and egress, and you should run not walk to the exit if... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Is this VA real estate contract of purchase enforceable?

The VA Real Estate Contract of Purchase was submitted to Seller on Friday, Seller's agent responded by text on Saturday to Buyer's agent that the offer had been accepted (no changes to terms). Seller's agent stated he would obtain Seller signature and send agreement to Buyer's... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Sep 22, 2020

There certainly is a decent legal argument that the contract was concluded, but you would have the burden of proving that the acceptance was by an authorized agent of the seller and that the acceptance was unconditional. Those will be factual questions, which means a trial. That is not an... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: How it going my name is mr Allen and I am writing bc I live in a family owned home and family member trying to evict me

Grandparents died and left it to the family, my mom is trying to dictate and kick me and my fiancé and kids out and I told her she has no authority her name isn’t on the deed and it’s a family home. She went and made a homemade eviction notice giving us 30 days

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Sep 22, 2020

There is no such thing at law as a "family owned home." The property is owned by some one or some specifically named individuals. If the property was not deeded or willed to the next generation, then it passed by intestacy. Sometimes, it is difficult after a hundred years or so,... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: How would I go about a home sale if we are buying a house from a friend without Realtors?

An acquaintance let us know that hey would like to sell their house and move. We are buying connected property already. She has not listed it. Can someone tell me in simple terms, how this would need to be handled legally in Virginia? Also, we would be buying it outright in cash. Thank you.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Sep 22, 2020

If you already have your price and don't need marketing services or advice on pricing and market analysis, you don't need a real estate agent. A lawyer will be much cheaper. Even cheaper is a new development I've been trying of employing a real estate agent in my office to handle... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Banking and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: If my sister takes power of attorney, over my father health etc, does she has controlled over the real estate home in PR

He is hospitalize VA, she is his aid care taker. She wants POA because he is married.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Sep 20, 2020

This is not a DIY situation. You need a lawyer. But, the specific answer to your question is that a power of attorney expires when the principal (your father) dies. Sometimes, the attorney-in-fact (your sister) has the power to make financial transactions during your father's life using the... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: I need to know specific closing information if I'm buying a house in Virginia from out of state

I live in New Jersey and I'm buying a house cash in Virginia. We are not using a buyer's agent. We were told we needed to have a real estate lawyer or a title company when the paperwork was signed. I'm trying to find out if the title company needs to be in Virginia or if I can use... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Sep 19, 2020

The title agent must be licensed in Virginia, and you would be foolish to use a title agent who was not also acting as your lawyer. That will be more expensive than having a non-lawyer title agent. It will be a little more expensive than using a title agent who is a lawyer acting as a title agent.... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Maryland on
Q: Can a former landlord deny me from retrieving furniture I left there 3 yrs ago that I intended to get back eventually?

I lived in a shared group house 3 years ago. All furnishings were provided by various tenants, none provided by the landlord. I left 4 pieces of living room furniture there when I moved in 2017, telling the other tenants my plan to retrieve the pieces at a later time. I am ready to reclaim them,... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Sep 16, 2020

Start by reading your former lease. It very likely contains a clause that items abandoned in the premises belong to the landlord. Even if it doesn't, you need to explain why landlord was responsible for bailing your property without his knowledge or consent for three years. And then, you need... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Foreclosure and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Statute of Limitations on enforcing Virginia deed that was accelerated, and 2 owners dying. 5 years + 2 years?

This is a Virginia reverse mortgage deed of trust that was accelerated when last owner died. Then subsequent owner who inherited died later as well. Due to acceleration, is the 5 or 6 year contract SOL valid, plus adding a year for each death of owner? Finally, does a Lis Pendens stop or affect... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Sep 15, 2020

You should probably read:

§ 8.01-236. Limitation of entry on or action for land.

No person shall make an entry on, or bring an action to recover, any land unless within fifteen years next after the time at which the right to make such entry or bring such action shall have first...
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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: How to get someone off house deed
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Sep 14, 2020

They deed it to someone else, or they die, and it transfers by operation of law or by a deed from the personal representative. You simply aren't providing enough details for this to be more useful. Perhaps you should discuss the matter with a lawyer who practices where the land is located.

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